[Talk-us] USA Rail: a progress report
steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Tue Apr 7 16:26:22 UTC 2015
I haven't (tediously) added up all the track-miles, but I would
estimate that at the Amtrak level, USA Rail is perhaps 75% - 80%
complete. However, this optimistic number comes with caveats:
1) While most (26 out of 43) Amtrak routes are "complete," for the
great majority of these, the completion is only for
public_transport:version=1 not 2, as is the longer-term goal. Of the
remaining 17, 15 are mostly or substantially complete, except for
Texas Eagle, which needs a lot of work from Arizona eastward. But
two are not even "stubbed in" yet: the Shuttle, and the
rather-complex-to-call-a-single-thing Northeast Regional routes.
Wouldn't you know, these last 20% are going to be the most tedious
and difficult, as "just" these two routes represent our most complex
route data yet to enter.
2) The "higher level" route=train relations described above might be
about 80% done, but the "middle level" (infrastructure) route=railway
relations of named Subdivisions still need lots of work -- we are
only at maybe 35% completion. Looking at OpenRailwayMap (which shows
usage= tags as red/yellow/orange for high-speed/mainline/branch
rail), we see that the USA is enjoying better coverage and
connectivity, but still has many "bald patches." Also, just because
a usage= tag is applied to a rail segment doesn't mean its name= tag
is correct nor does it mean that all identically-named rail segments
are collected together into an infrastructure (route=railway)
relation -- all three should be true to say that rail is well-tagged
3) Only one or two states (California and Montana, the latter is
pretty sketchy) boast their own statewide rail wiki pages. Sure,
efforts to better tag rail can (and do!) take place in other states,
but there is nothing like a wiki to measure/share progress and "divvy
up the work" where everybody can participate using our wiki method.
You can improve USA rail without a wiki, but in my opinion
(especially when there is more than one person in a state pushing the
same boulder uphill) it really does make things easier: document,
keep track, don't duplicate efforts, and get that great feeling of
checking off something as Done when you get to 100%.
4) Even some of the routes marked "Complete" might still be kind of
rough: stations and platforms may not be correct or fully fleshed
out, underlying infrastructure might not be correctly named or tagged.
In short (too late!), OpenPublicTransportMap is a "fair" illustration
of our Amtrak and more-local route=train relations, with perhaps 85%
visual coverage. We are getting there! Infrastructure
(route=railway) relations lag far behind this, at about 35%
completion. Though California can again boast that our
infrastructure is "early alpha" and maybe 97% complete, though not
completely accurate -- work continues.
The major still-to-do tasks in fixing up USA rail continue to be these:
1) Change TIGER name= tag to operator=, then issue a new correct
name= tag (like "XYZ Subdivision"),
2) Add a usage= tag like main or branch. This makes the
infrastructure "light up with color" in ORM, and
3) Collect identically named rail segments together into a
route=railway (infrastructure) relation.
After 3) it's almost a cinch to combine infrastructure together into
route=train relations (like Amtrak), at least
public_transport:version=1. We do have some
public_transport:version=2 relations to serve as good examples, so
you really could even roll up your sleeves and do those, too! This
isn't about getting detailed passenger rail SCHEDULES into OSM, just
rail infrastructure and routes. Any volunteers?! See
http://wiki.osm.org/wiki/Amtrak and call "Dibs!" on a route or two!
Given the rather dismal state of rail data from our poorly aging
TIGER import, I must ask the august readers of this list: How
complete and correct is rail tagging in YOUR state?
(I think that's called "cheerleading," and I'm not terribly
embarrassed for having done so)
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